Custom Fountain Pen

Custom Fountain Pen

Turkish Walnut Custom Fountain PenThose of you who know me, know that I’m a bit old school. I still prefer paper books and I enjoy writing with a fountain pen. It will be no surprise that I’m now using a custom fountain pen as my main writing instrument.

For a couple of years now I’ve written with a Sheaffer Intensity. It’s a good pen, slender, but a bit heavy, especially if you cap it when writing (which I don’t because of the weight).

This year, as my birthday and Father’s Day present, I got a new pen. This one is custom-made from Turkish Walnut with an extra-fine iridium nib.

The pen was made by a former band mate of mine. Being made of wood, it’s much lighter than my Sheaffer, which is a good thing. The lighter weight of the wood allows your hand to relax when writing, which improves penmanship and reduces muscle strain. Speaking of wood, the Turkish Walnut is beautiful, as you can see. It has a nice deep color in the marbled grain, along with a few highlights.

This pen has a magnetic cap, rather than the standard screw on cap you normally find on fountain pens. It’s unique and fun, but not as secure as the screw on type cap. I’d be reluctant to carry this pen in my bag on a daily basis, but since I plan to use it at my desk, that’s not a problem.

After a tune-up at my favorite pen shop, the pen writes smoothly with just the right amount of ink flow, and produces a beautiful line. The nib has just the right amount of flex to produce a beautiful script, at least as beautiful as my handwriting can be.

Mark has set up an Etsy store where you can pick up one of his pens or contact him to have one custom-made from the material of your choice.

If you’re already a fountain pen user and looking to add a custom fountain pen to your collection, then I suggest you check out Mark’s work.

If you’re not a yet a fountain pen user, I urge you to do yourself, and your penmanship, a favor and pick up the ultimate writing instrument. What better place to start than with a custom fountain pen?

 

Northanger Abbey
a surprisingly good read

Northanger Abbey
a surprisingly good read

Northanger Abbey was my first Jane Austen novel. It won’t be my last. My previous experience with Jane Austen was limited to having once watched Pride and Prejudice while on our honeymoon.

Like most men, I always assumed that Jane Austen novels were simpering, sappy, romance novels of the victorian era. Sadly, the movie I watched did little to dispel that assessment. But this year I have been engaged in a reading challenge that has forced me out of my comfort zone a bit when selecting books. I’ll explain more of the particulars in a future post, but I had several categories that lent themselves to reading a Jane Austen novel, not the least of which was, A book written by Jane Austen.

Lauren had a large volume containing seven of Austen’s novels. I looked it over and chose Northanger Abbey for two reasons. First, I had never seen or heard anything about it. Second, it was the shortest novel in the anthology.

I fully expected to toil through it and be glad when it was over so I could move on to reading something more to my liking. How wrong my expectations were!

Read More Read More

Is manliness obsolete in the gender-neutral society?

Is manliness obsolete in the gender-neutral society?

Harvard University Professor Harvey C. Mansfield doesn’t think so. In Manliness he asserts (a very manly thing, asserting something) that manliness is not only not obsolete, but very much needed, in our modern, gender-neutral society.

Despite the title, “Manliness“, and the assertion that manliness is needed, Mansfield isn’t opposed to our gender-neutral society, though he does prefer to use the word sex rather than gender when talking about men and women. In fact, he says that a gender-neutral public society is “long overdue”. He then asserts that manliness is required to maintain it. Of course, this requires defining manliness, not an easy thing to do, and then proving his assertion. To do so, Mansfield takes the reader on a tour of philosophy and literature from Plato and Homer to feminist authors of our modern age.

Interestingly, he didn’t write the book to teach men how to be manly. You can’t teach manliness. Rather, the book was written for a surprising audience and purpose.

Manliness, the quality mostly of one sex, gets in the way of an equal or reasonable distribution of tasks and rewards; it seems to promote a bias in favor of men over women. In this book I begin from manliness as the irrational obstacle to a rational project that seeks to remove this bias. By the end I hope to convince skeptical readers–above all, educated women–of the reverse: that irrational manliness deserves to be endorsed by reason. [p.ix]

The problem of manliness

As any good thinker does, Mansfield begins by examining the problem. In this case, the problem is that changes are being made to our society, moving it toward “a practice of equality between the sexes that has never been known before in all human history.” Yet, in spite of these changes, manliness refuses to quietly fade away.

The capacities and inclinations of the sexes do not differ exactly or universally, but they do seem to differ. These differences are, one could say, all the more impressive now that they are no longer supported, indeed now that they are denied or opposed, by society’s ruling conventions. The old Adam is still effective and still visible despite all that Hollywood and the media (when they want to be serious) do to instruct us in gender neutrality. [p.12]

So the questions are, Why do these differences still exist? The answer is because Manliness still exists. But should it? Are we done with manliness? Or do we still need it? And if so, for what purpose?

Read More Read More

Too much, too little, just right

Too much, too little, just right

“[The manly man] knows his job, and he stands fast in that knowledge. If he doesn’t really know his job, his confidence is false and he is just boasting. If he knows it but lets himself be pushed around, he’s also not really confident; he merely has the basis for confidence. The first case of boasting is manly excess, the second is a defect of manliness.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, Manliness, p.16, 17

No one likes a braggart and the one who brags rarely has the grounds for it. At the same time, no one respects a coward, even if he has the grounds for confidence but doesn’t use it. The sweet spot is something we might call confident humility, or simply–manliness.

Buy Manliness (the book not the virtue) on Amazon.com

Trying to have it both ways

Trying to have it both ways

Now supporters of the gender-neutral society (call them feminists) are torn between showing that they are as competent as men and doing away with gentlemen who might oppose them. In the first mode, they want to show they are manly; in the second, they want to deny there is any such thing. – Harvey C. Mansfield, Manliness, p.15

The peddlers of this new gender-neutral society aren’t the only ones who are torn. Our society itself is being torn apart by infighting over this moral collapse.

I’ve only just started reading this book but based on the first chapter I’m guessing this will be one you’ll want to read.

Buy it on Amazon.com – Manliness